Site Advisory Committee and Nov 9 BUSD Board Meeting

BUSD Board has selected volunteers to serve on the Superintendent’s Site Advisory Committee, broken down by region: Area 1, Pala – Eric Ortega, No Alternate; Area 2, Rancho – Tom Flanagan, Alternate: David Toney;  Area 3, Gird – Eric Nordeen, Alternate: Kara LaRussa; Area 4, Sullivan – Kassandra Costa, Alternate: Larissa Anderson; Area 5, Bonsall – Jeff Johnson, Alternate: None; Area 6, Bonsall West – Brian Olson, Alternate: Eric Ford.

The Site Advisory Committee will deliver a report about various available sites in January. We look forward to reading it.

The BUSD Board meeting on November 9 featured two bond measure experts. Both noted the lack of community support for a bond measure (to build a high school on Gird Road) but Dale Scott’s presentation was extremely frank and detailed. Mr. Scott advised the Board to avoid attempting a bond measure in 2018 since BUSD simply does not have enough community’s support for passage. He shared a chart on 2016’s failed Measure DD (to build a 1,5,00 student high school on Gird Road), noting that those opposed to Measure DD turned out in record numbers. Over 80% of the voters located in Bonsall and Fallbrook voted No to the Gird Road site. Not surprising since Measure DD represents the fifth time the site has failed at at the ballot box.

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 10.21.19 AMMr. Scott stated that to counter community resistance in the areas with high turnout and No votes, BUSD would have to move other precincts by 10 points, impossible to do! Both experts recommended  BUSD not attempt a bond in 2018 due to lack of community support. We’ll post the full reports as soon as BUSD shares them but the meeting is worth listening to [BUSD Board Mtg Nov 9, 2017, bond experts’ presentations are at 0:43 to 1:18].

Seeking volunteers to help build the perfect school in the perfect location!

Thank you to everyone who attended the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Workshop on September 30th and the Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) Board meeting on October 12.

We learned a lot at the CEQA Workshop, hosted by environmental attorney Kevin Johnson and the Planning and Conservation League (PCL). In 1965, a group of concerned citizens formed PCL “to protect California from the destruction caused by fast-paced and poorly planned developments”, a worthy goal. For over 50 years, PCL has worked to “safeguard our lands, air, waters, and communities, while building strong coalitions and empowering the public.” Thank you to Kevin and PCL for sharing so much information!

We learned that CEQA, which generates the Environmental Review Process (EIR), pushes citizens, developers and public agencies to engage in a community brain storming process. It forces us all to mitigate damage caused by development and to explore alternatives fully.

… Read more

Special Board Meeting, EIR and process to pursue school funds

A status report on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and design information for a  high school for 1,500 students proposed for a site on Gird Road in Fallbrook was presented at a special board meeting on September 28 at the new (opened Fall 2016) 18,000 square foot 350-student high school. This high school is located at the Sullivan Middle School Campus (current enrollment 328). Ten classrooms upstairs are designed to serve 27 students each, reported Facilities Manager David Medcalf. The upper floor also hosts a large lab space, the Principals office and a separate office for the administrative assistant. Downstairs is broken into additional large rooms/labs with a very large meeting space.

Phase I of the design, to accommodate 500 students, will include all the parking (200,000 sq. ft.) plus 85,000 sq. ft.  of the proposed full build out (150,000 sq. ft.).

The EIR is expected to be released in 30 days for a 45-day comment period. There was no mention about the 16.14 acres of federally-designated critical arroyo toad habitat and it is reported the the three unnamed tributaries to the San Luis Rey River located on the site (see Initial CEQA study, October 2016) have mysteriously been reduced to one. There are no plans to mitigate for any destruction of habitat.

Julie Zimmerman of BakerNowicki Design walked the audience through the steps to complete prior to submitting to the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) for Proposition 51 Funding:

  1. Complete the Draft EIR and Submit for Public Review
  2. Respond to Public Review comments
  3. Finalize Environmental Impact Report
  4. Approve Site Selection – Gird Road or Other
  5. Commence Design Development Documents – January 2018
  6. Complete Construction Documents
  7. Submit Construction Documents to Division of State Architect for Review and Approval – October 2018
  8. Receive DSA approval – approximately July 2019
  9. OPSC places BUSD application on the unfunded list – August 2019
  10. BUSD provides District match using GO Bond funds or other financing
  11. Complete / Resubmit eligibility requirement forms that are required by the State to confirm present day eligibility
  12. State Proposition 51 Bond Sale provides State matching dollars
  13. Date order and compete for funding – OPSC to certify District has match and can begin construction within 90 days of apportionment by State Allocation Board (SAB)

If the Board authorized Design Development Documents to begin January 2018, the remaining items 5-12 would likely be completed within 3 to 3-1/2 years or about July 2021. At that time construction of the new high school could commence with students occupying the campus beginning 2023/24 school year. The 2-story building is currently at capacity. It would be sound facility planning for the District to provide additional high school facilities to meet its growing high school student needs prior to the 2023/24 school year.”

The original plan presented in the unification documents was to convert the Sullivan Middle School campus into a high school which could easily absorb the projected 500-ish students BUSD was projecting would occupy it, before the new 350-student high school (how serving 328) was built in 2016 and projected changed to 352 for 2019/2020 in BUSD’s budget projections. However, now all parties (except for 2 board members, Dick Olson and Sylvia Tucker and thousands of district residents) appear to be pushing through plans to build a 1,500-student school on Gird Road in two phases, in spite of serious financial hurdles.

During an exchange with board members Timothy Coen and Erin English, Ms. Zimmerman stated, referring to the new Bonsall High School built at the Sullivan Middle School campus and its request for over $3 million of state funding“We actually submitted it as Sullivan Middle School to preserve your high school eligibility.”

What this means is unclear. 

Village News reports on September 30 CEQA Workshop

“Fallbrook and North County residents are invited to attend a one-day workshop on Sept. 30 on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process,” reports Village News. “Hosted by respected environmental attorney Kevin Johnson, this workshop will help us all gain an understanding of the law, its purpose, power and the CEQA process for protection of the environment.”

Read here our latest call to action for this important meeting.

Fallbrook and North County residents invited to CEQA/EIR Workshop Sept. 30

Fallbrook and North County residents are invited to attend a one-day workshop on September 30  on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process.

Hosted by respected environmental attorney Kevin Johnson, this workshop will help us all gain an understanding of the law, its purpose, power and the CEQA process for protection of the environment.

Fallbrook and North County residents treasure our agricultural heritage and open space. We work hard to maintain the beauty of our area, giving countless hours and our hard-earned money to community endeavors designed to protect the environment. California state law supports these efforts via CEQA. Enacted into law in 1970, most California residents are unfamiliar with CEQA. The September 30 workshop is our opportunity to empower ourselves by improving our understanding of this very important law.

CEQA requires us to measure the impact of projects on the environment (Environmental Impact Report/EIR process) and to adopt all feasible measures and alternatives to mitigate those impacts. CEQA has made environmental protection a mandatory part of every California state and local (public) agency’s decision making process and gives citizens the right to petition the courts regarding decisions made regarding public and private projects.

Registration for this must-attend workshop includes a CEQA Guide and lunch for a $45 donation. Attendees should bring writing materials, a notebook or your tablet/laptop. Registration starts at 8:30 AM with the workshop starting at 9 AM, finishing by 4 PM. Since the workshop will be held in Carlsbad, carpools are being arranged.

If you care about the environment and preserving it, we urge you to register and attend this important workshop on September 30.

NOTE: The Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for BUSD’s the 1500-student high school proposed to be built on Gird Road is a: https://savegirdvalley.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/eir_notice.pdf  You can sign up to receive info by clicking on the first link at http://www.bonsallusd.com/apps/pages/eir 

SaveGirdValley.com submitted initial comments on the NOP for the EIR and will submit more during the 45-day comment period, once it is announced (most likely sometime in late October/early November. 

Mark your calendars: Two important meetings to save North County and beautiful Gird Valley!

Thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to attend the Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) August meeting. Please make an effort to attend the September 14 Board meeting at the Bonsall Community Center. You also need to attend a Workshop on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on September 30. Mark your calendars now!

For those of us who care about Gird Valley and North County, we’ve been distressed to see the Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) going broke (deficit spending over six years) as it attempts to build a huge 1,500-student high school and performing arts center on what is at the northernmost end of the district on Gird Road, a site that has failed to win funding at the ballot box fully five times. This is in spite of the fact that taxpayers built BUSD a 350-student high school (a building that is now less than a year old!) and BUSD projects only 352 high school students enrolled by 2019/2020.

Since we became involved in this issue, we have learned that the school district has spent itself into a financial tailspin and its Superintendent has been replaced by new Superintendent David Jones.

Read more …

Attend BUSD board meeting Aug. 9, Bonsall Community Center and CEQA workshop

Thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to attend the Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) July meeting. Please make an effort to attend the August 9th Board meeting at the Bonsall Community Center. (NOTE: the meeting is rescheduled from August 10th to August 9th.)

BUSD has announced, “The District has been deficit spending since the 2011/12 fiscal year, a total of six years; this structural imbalance of revenues versus expenses … is an unsustainable trend. … The multi-year projections show the District ending the 2019/20 fiscal year with an ending balance available for reserves of 0.4%, far below the legally required 3%.”

… Read more